After graduating from the University of Rochester School of Nursing and the psychology department, I worked in pediatrics at Strong Memorial Hospital before moving to Seattle to care for patients undergoing bone marrow transplantation. In making the full circle back to Rochester, I lived for 14 years in Central VT, working in oncology and hospice as well as in elementary education as a school nurse, counselor and health educator.
My experience in the health care field has brought me into contact with thousands of wonderful people, including dedicated physicians, nurses and teachers, who were struggling with the isolation and shame of their chemical dependency problems. The contrast between societal support and concern for patients suffering from physical illnesses like cancer and heart disease versus people dealing with the devastating and stigmatizing effects of the disease of addiction drew me to Westfall Associates and the team approach to looking at each person's individual needs in a holistic, nonjudgmental and compassionate manner.
In addition to conducting an initial health assessment on each client during the evaluation phase of treatment, I also provide individual counseling and coordination of care to clients who may have complex medical problems, chronic pain, eating disorders, or co-existing mental health conditions. My love for children led to the expansion of our Children's Services Program, including individual and group therapy for children and adolescents who may benefit from education and support around issues of their adult loved one's chemical dependency.
In 2007, I started the Westfall Chronic Pain program to address the particular needs of those living with chronic pain and addiction. I facilitate a weekly chronic pain and stress management group where participants learn coping strategies, practice relaxation techniques and address issues related to their personal growth and recovery in a supportive environment. Perhaps because of my background in oncology, I also find it especially rewarding to help empower our clients who have set a goal to stop using the most cumulatively dangerous drug of all, Nicotine.
Outside of my work at Westfall, I conduct bereavement groups for children at the "Center for Compassion and Healing" and provide private therapy for grieving children. I enjoy playing guitar, reading, weaving, hiking, gardening (including growing lemons in the winter!), and most of all, spending time with my family and good friends.